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Kimbila, Kimila, Kimmila Thera

A Sakyan of Kapilavatthu. He was converted with Bhaddiya and four other Sakyan nobles at Anupiyā, shortly after the Buddha’s visit to Kapilavatthu (Vin.ii.182; DhA.i.112 f). The Theragāthā Commentary says (ThagA.i.235 f; Thag.118, 155 f, According to DhA.i.117, Kimbila became an Arahant soon after ordination together with Bhagu; see also J.i.140 and AA.i.108) that while at Anupiyā the Buddha, in order to arouse Kimbila, conjured up a beautiful woman in her prime and then showed her to him passing into old age. Greatly agitated, Kimbila sought the Buddha, heard the Dhamma and, having entered the Order, in due course won Arahantship. Kimbila seems to have maintained throughout his early friendship with Anuruddha, dwelling with him and Nandiya, now in this wood or park, now in that.

The Buddha visited them at Pācīnavaṃsadāya when he was going away, disgusted with the recalcitrant monks of Kosambī. (Vin.i.350; J.iii.489; see also Upakkilesa Sutta, M.iii.155 ff and ThagA.i.275 f). They were in the Gosiṅgasālavanadāya when the Buddha taught them the Cūḷagosiṅga Sutta, at the conclusion of which, Dīgha­parajana yakkha sang the praises of all three (M.i.205 ff). Their number was increased by the presence of Bhagu, Kuṇḍadhāna, Revata and Ānanda, on the occasion when the Buddha taught the Naḷakapāna Sutta in the Palāsavana at Naḷakapāna (M.i.462 ff).

In three different places in the Aṅguttaranikāya (A.iii.247; 339; iv.84) record is made of a conversation between Kimbila and the Buddha, when Kimbila asks how the Dhamma could be made to endure long after the Buddha’s death and what were the causes which might bring about its early disappearance. The conversation took place in the Veḷuvana (Niceluvana?) in Kimbilā. According to the Aṅguttaranikāya Commentary (AA.ii.642), however, it would appear that the Kimbila mentioned here was not Kimbila the Sakyan but another. We are told that this Kimbila was a millionaire’s son (seṭṭhiputta) of Kimbilā. He joined the Order and acquired the power of knowing his previous births. He recollected how he had been a monk at the time when Kassapa Buddha’s religion was falling into decay, and seeing how the faith was neglected by its followers, he made a stairway up a cliff and lived there as a recluse. It was this memory of his previous life which prompted Kimbila’s question.

Elsewhere (S.v.322 f ) the Buddha is reported as questioning Kimbila at the same spot on the question of breathing. Kimbila remains silent though the question is put three times. Ānanda intervenes and suggests that the Buddha should himself furnish the answer so that the monks may learn it and profit thereby.

In the time of Kakusandha Buddha, Kimbila had been a householder; after the Buddha’s death he erected a pavilion of salala-garlands round his cetiya (ThagA.i.235). He is probably to be identified with Salalamandapiya Thera of the Apadāna (Ap.i.333).

The Dhammapada Commentary (DhA.i.115; iv.126) mentions a story which shows how delicately nurtured Kimbila was. One day, in a discussion with his friends, Anuruddha and Bhaddiya, as to where rice came from, Kimbila remarked that it came from the granary (koṭṭhe).

2. Kimbila.– A millionaire’s son of Kimbilā who later became a monk. See Kimbila (1).